Challenges to Success

Devon-McDonald by

2011-05-13 16.29.44 D60

This is a part of a series that was cre­at­ed to help you cre­ate case stud­ies for your com­pany.  This series will walk through the process, nec­es­sary roles, in addi­tion to guides for each role to help your com­pany get started quickly.

Like any other marketing initiative, case studies may present some challenges for the initiative owner.

Potential issues include:

  • The CEO/executive team being resistant to approve the content budget. If you plan to should find, however, that external resources are very cost-effective; you can put an entire case study together for less than $1,000 at the lower-end, and under $2,000 if using higher-end resources.
  • Working with unreliable freelancers. While your freelancer is under contract with your business (having signed the Statement of Work that you created), they are not employees of your company. That said, they may not feel as responsible for meeting deadlines and/or producing the highest quality content. The best freelancers will come through with outstanding results, but you do run the risk of working with some poor performers before you find your superstar contractors.
  • Customers who don’t want to be featured in case studies. Depending on the contracts you have with customers, they may or may not want to be featured in any sales content/press releases pertaining to their engagement with your company. You may, however, be able to negotiate discounts with customers in return for their agreeing to participate. On the other hand, you might find customers who are so thrilled with their results that they are more than happy to share their story.
  • Choosing a topic/customer example that does not resonate with your target audience. When determining the focus of your case study, consult your colleagues and management teams for examples of high-impact engagements (note that the closer your customer examples are to your target audience the better). Once you’ve selected the subject matter and identified the customers, talk with the people in your company who worked directly on the account. Ask them if they think the topic is worthwhile. Were the customer’s results measurable? Will the customer have only good things to say?
  • Lack of clear and measurable goals. To be successful with this initiative, you have to have clear goals in place pertaining to case study distribution and readership.
  • Poor marketing of the case study. Creating a great case study is one thing; getting it out there for the world to see is quite another. Consider all of your marketing vehicles for distribution and select the methods that will get your content into the hands of the target audience most effectively.
  • Your sales team not buying-in to the value of sharing the case studies. Your sales team should play a key role in distributing case studies — these documents will help them build credibility with their prospects. If they are not made aware of the importance of case studies and how to showcase them in a way that will produce and nurture leads, the initiative will make much less of an impact.

Next week, I’ll share a checklist for the initiative owner to highlight the most important components of the process.